Haute Route Blog: Day 5
by Adam Tranter
The second edition of the Haute Route is underway. 780km and 19 mountains; a monumental challenge for every one of the 600 riders, it’s also a fairly substantial challenge for the 150-strong support crew. In that crew is Adam Tranter, who is taking on the 780km himself, on the back of a motorbike, which we’re fairly sure is cheating.
I enjoyed today, and from all accounts, so did most people. It seems odd on a life-changing experience like this, that I have to have to bring up enjoyment as if it wasn’t already a given. But I think most people thought they were in for enjoyment until they realised enjoyment is soon overtaken by pain and suffering.
When you are just trying to make it to the next hairpin, short-term emotions overtake long-term feelings. I imagine most Haute Route riders won’t experience true enjoyment until they get home and look back at the memories they’ve had.
For those that are enjoying it, it’s clear that their sense of enjoyment is warped beyond recognition to the average Joe. But that’s understandable; riders of the Haute Route aren’t average Joes.
The timed start
“This is definitely the strangest way I’ve spent a holiday,” said Fergus Garvin, straight after crossing the line, “I’m pretty obliterated to be fair, that’s about it”. You could tell from his wry smile that he enjoyed being obliterated really.
As I was saying, I enjoyed it. Especially so as today’s stage went through what I can very, very loosely describe as my old stomping ground. I come to this part of the Alps on holiday most years, and coming through here with work really makes me smile; mainly because I don’t have to do any pedaling.
The pack on the Col d'Izoard
Last time I rode up the Col d’Izoard, it was with a former Tour rider, Adrian Timmis, who hadn’t visited the Alps since he’d ridden the Tour. Let’s just say I also know how it feels to be pretty obliterated. Today, the race went up the easy and beautifully picturesque side of the Izoard, but like all these mountains, they are hard. I also saw a bloke at the top of the Col d’Izoard juggling with four oranges, which is something that I haven’t seen before, and it certainly bemused some of the riders.
Before that was the Col du Lautaret. My friends will vouch that I once sat in a café in La Grave, at the base of the climb, for 2 hours waiting to be picked up, because I couldn’t bring myself to slog up the Col for the third time in a week. So I do know how our riders feel, I just don’t share any of their motivation to carry on and do it anyway.
What I certainly haven’t experienced is riding up the final ascent, La Montée de Risoul, right at the end of 136km, after five days of consecutive riding. Already, after 514km and nearly 15,000m of climbing, they have done more than most amateur cyclists. By the time they’ve finished, with 780km and 21,000m of ascent in their legs, they will have achieved something truly unique. And then, perhaps, will they have time to experience real enjoyment.
The road ahead
With only two more days to go and Nice rapidly approaching, things don’t get easier, the goal that seemed crazy before we started just seems more achievable.
Haute Route 2012
- 19/08/2012 - Geneva, Switzerland to Nice, France
- Haute Route Alps 2013 - 18/08/2013 - Geneva, Switzerland to Nice, France
You May Also Like...
Leave A Comment
Please login to leave a comment